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N.Y.s new banking department focusing on charters
ALBANY, N.Y. (12/7/11)--The New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Insurance, Banks, and Oversight, Analysis and Investigations conducted a public hearing regarding the status of the state's new Department of Financial Services (DFS), which said it is focusing on strengthening the state charter for credit unions.

The department was created Oct. 3 from the merger of the New York State Banking Department and the New York State Insurance Department.

The hearing's chief witness, DFS Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, presented an update on the merger and an overview of remaining steps necessary to complete the department's transition.

In his remarks, Lawsky referred to credit unions several times--most notably when discussing the DFS' goal of attracting more federal charters to convert to the state charter and its efforts to serve the "unbanked" and "underbanked."

"Superintendent Lawsky's comments align closely with the Credit Union Association of New York's legislative agenda, which is very encouraging," said Michael Lanotte, association senior vice president and general counsel, who attended the hearing. "We will continue to communicate with the superintendent and key members of the DFS staff to make sure that New York credit unions' interests are represented and protected."

Lawsky also noted the DFS' close involvement with hydraulic fracturing, including the potential impact on property values, mineral rights leases and title insurance. Slick water hydraulic fracturing, also known as hydrofracking, is a new development in natural gas extraction. The process makes mining for natural gas in dense shale more economically possible. A "slick water" mixture is pumped into the shale to fracture the rock and release the gas.


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